March Dialogue Night: Making connections in our community.


Holden Bergam

The second 2020-2021 Dialogue Night took place on Thursday, March 4th, 2021. Facilitated by CORE 8 and BRAVE peer leaders, this event taught students, parents, and even grandparents about bias and how to make connections in today’s community. This event was the first three-generational Dialogue Night, with students teaching students, parents, and grandparents what bias is, exactly, and how everyone has biases, whether they recognize it or not. 

Before the event began, the peer leaders asked that everyone fill out a questionnaire. It asked students to analyze the diversity among their friend groups and their entire community. The data collected from this questionnaire was presented in Dialogue Night.

The evening consisted of four parts: understanding bias, review of data from the questionnaire, opportunities for connections in our community, and research related to reducing prejudice. When talking about bias, the facilitators presented a video that related everyday connections such as peanut butter and jelly to biases amongst race, gender, et cetera. After presenting another video called High Heels, Violins, and a Warning, the groups found that explicit bias can affect outcomes such as determining why women are rarely accepted into professional orchestras. To summarize, the groups came to the conclusion that everyone has biases, whether they are implicit or explicit. 

Later that evening, the groups analyzed data from the questionnaire, seeing how answers regarding diversity differed among three generations. Groups then analyzed how diversity differs from Millburn to all of New Jersey by looking at statistics. 

In the fourth part of the night, the groups watched two videos; one about the Robbers Cave Experiment, and the other about the Blue Eyes – Brown Eyes experiment. In the Robbers Cave Experiment, young teens were grouped together to form different societies and cultures. After watching some groups discriminate against others, all of the children were grouped back together to achieve various goals as one.

 The groups came to the conclusion that discrimination amongst the children in this experiment was lowered when the societies were working towards a common goal. 

In the Blue Eyes – Brown Eyes experiment, conducted the day after MLK was assassinated, white third-grade students were separated based on eye color. On one day, blue-eyed children were given privileges that the brown-eyed children did not have, and vice versa the next day. 

The groups watched as the young children were suddenly against discrimination after being the ones to experience it for just one day. Everybody was shocked at how all it took was a simple classroom experiment to teach a group of children how to empathize for those who were discriminated against. 

This Dialogue Night was a huge success. Unfortunately, there will be no more Dialogue Night for the 2020-2021 school year. However, attending Dialogue Nights in future years will allow you to claim a certificate that you can attach to your peer leader application! Thanks for reading!